Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coconut Shrimp with Mango-Ginger Dipping Sauce

Coconut Shrimp are a popular appetizer that is easy to make at home.

For this recipe I used one pound of fresh wild caught pink gulf shrimp in the 15-20 count size range (15-20 shrimp per pound). I highly recommend using fresh shrimp for this recipe if you can get your hands on them. There is a huge difference in the taste between wild caught gulf shrimp and some of the frozen farm raised tiger shrimp you may find that are a product of Thailand. One pound of shrimp will be more than enough as an appetizer for 6-8 people.

Start by cleaning your shrimp if needed. The fresh shrimp will need to be peeled and de-veined. I remove all of the shell except for the last part of the tail. Removing the veins on these shrimp was a easy step because I was going to butterfly them anyways. After removing the shell, just slide your knife down the back of the shrimp about 1/8"-1/4" deep and this will expose the vein that can be removed and washed away under some running water.

With the shrimp washed, I seasoned them lightly with salt and fresh black pepper. I then began the breading process by rolling the shrimp in flour. The flour is followed by a egg wash, and then our breading mixture. For the coconut breading I used a 2/3 mixture of shredded sweetened coconut and 1/3 panko or Japanese bread crumbs. After the shrimp are breaded they can be covered and placed in a cookie sheet in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.

The shrimp are fried in enough vegetable oil to cover them at 350 degrees for about 4-5 minutes. Cooking times will vary based on the size of your shrimp. When the shrimp are golden brown remove them and place them on paper towel to drain.

A simple and delicious dipping sauce for these shrimp is reduction of mango and ginger. Peel a fresh ripe mango and cut up all the flesh into small cubes. Place the mango into a stock pan with 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (any vinegar on hand will do), and salt to taste. Cook the mixture to boiling and let it reduce and simmer for about 15 minutes. Finish by blending the mixture in a blender until smooth.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Homemade Egg Noodles

With cold and flu season upon us, there is likely to be homemade chicken soup in your future. The best accompaniment with chicken soup is some nice thick egg noodles. They are very easy to make and turn your soup into the ultimate comfort food.

Start by making a mound on a clean surface consisting of 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix the dry ingredients well and make a well in the center of the mixture. To the well add 2 whole eggs and 3 tablespoons of water. Scramble the eggs with a fork gradually working the eggs into the flour. Bring the mix together with your hands and knead for a few minutes until it all comes together as a workable dough. You may need to add a few more tablespoons of water to make this possible depending on conditions. Move the dough to a floured surface and roll out to your desired thickness. I rolled my batch out to about 1/8" thick. We like our noodles a little thicker, almost on the verge of being a dumpling. Keep in mind that the noodles are going to just about double in size when they are cooked. Slice your dough with a pizza cutter into your desired width of noodle. Drop the noodles into boiling broth or soup and cover to let simmer for about 8-10 minutes until they are done. The end product will blow away any store bought noodles, and its a great way to add a little comfort to your meal.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Jaeger Schnitzel

To help celebrate Oktoberfest this year I was in the mood to try to make a traditional German dish called jaeger schnitzel. The recipe consists of cutlets of pork, veal, or beef that are pounded out thin, breaded, and fried. The cutlets then get topped with a rich and creamy mushroom gravy. Schnitzel translated to English literally means chip or cutlet. The word jaeger translates to hunter, which my pay homage to the act of hunting the wild mushrooms that were traditionally used in the recipe.

I made this recipe using slices of pork tenderloin. The pork was pounded out to about a quarter of an inch thick and seasoned with salt and pepper. I then used the traditional breading method of flour, followed by beaten egg, followed by bread crumbs. I used panko bread crumbs for a little extra crunch. I then shallow fried them in a cast iron skillet a few minutes on each side until golden brown. The schnitzel were then topped with a creamy mushroom gravy that I made using crimini mushrooms.

For side dishes I made some traditional roasted potatoes and some not so traditional roasted broccoli. The potatoes were large diced, tossed in olive oil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried rosemary. The potatoes were cooked at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes and tossed about every 15 minutes during cooking.

The broccoli was a new twist that I felt like trying out. I tossed the large broccoli spears with sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, crushed garlic, pepper, brown sugar, and sesame seeds. The end result was a basic teriyaki marinade. I cooked the broccoli at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes turning half way through cooking. It really turned out well as the sesame seeds toasted nicely lending a nice nutty flavor to the broccoli.

I served the dish with traditional German garnish of fresh lemon and chopped parsley.